The Laura Ingalls Wilder museum is a bit off the beaten path, but it's a great place to visit for fans of her work. Located in Mansfield, Missouri, the museum was built in the very place where Wilder wrote her famous Little House series of books.
Rocky Ridge Farm
After four difficult years spent trying to make a living in DeSmet, South Dakota, Laura Ingalls Wilder and her husband Almanzo took the last of their savings and bought some farmland near Mansfield, Missouri. In 1894, they began work on Rocky Ridge Farm, hoping to make a living growing fruit and raising livestock.
After several years of hardship, the farm began to turn a profit, giving Laura the time she needed to work on her children's books. Both Laura and Almanzo died at Rocky Ridge, and the farm was turned into a museum honoring her life after her death in 1957.
All of Laura's books were written in her study at the Rocky Ridge Farm. Her desk is preserved exactly as she left it. Most of the farmland has been sold or rented to local farmers, but there are tours of the farmhouse.
The museum is full of things that were part of Laura's life from the 1800s through her death in 1957, including Pa's fiddle and the clock Almanzo bought for the family in 1886. Along with Laura's desk, the guest room and the living room look exactly as they did in 1957.
A section of the museum also features highlights of Rose Wilder's career and writings. Laura and Almanzo's only child, Rose is believed to have played a significant role in the creation of the Little House books. Rose's desk features souvenirs from her travels, along with her manuscripts.
The farmhouse is a national landmark, and is kept open with the help of sales and donations. The museum is open from March 1 through November 15. As of 2009, admission is still under $10 per person, except for seniors over the age of 65, who get in for free.
The museum also houses a store, where all of the books that were written by Laura can be purchased. Biographies and some of Rose's writings can also be purchased in the store. Collectibles and other artifacts may also be purchased, including a miniature replica of Pa's fiddle.